Quick update on what the hospital stay will be like

Surgery will take between 6 and 10 hours.  I will be in intensive care for up to 36 hours so they can monitor the new flaps for blood flow.  The regular floor nursing staff does not have time to do this so that is why Intensive Care is the only option.  If there is a problem with blood flow they will need to take me back to surgery.  After 36 hours or so, if there is no problem I will be transferred to a regular hospital room for 1 or 2 days more.  I should be home Thurs. or Friday at the latest.

Day before surgery

Before surgery photos included.

Well it is the day before surgery and I am ready for this journey to begin.  Tonight I will take the 1st of two showers preparing my skin for surgery.  I had a pedicure on Friday and had them put pumpkins on my big toes.  My surgeons will be missing Halloween and I wanted to make them smile when they noticed them.

pumpkin-toe

I am trying to keep my surgery upbeat and this seems to help me.  I did take pictures of my before body and will be posting them at the end of this blog.  You will be able to read the whole blog and not be able to see the pictures until you scroll down to them.  I know not everyone would like to see these, but for a person going through this process it really helped me to see what was going on and what to expect when I have my surgery.  I hope that no one is offended by them.

My husband I have cooked meals and froze them into double serving sizes, cleaned and done all of the projects we could finish by this weekend.  He took me dancing, to the new I-Fly indoor skydiving place, and to Bass Hall to see Phantom of the Opera.  Kind of a surgery bucket list.  My kids called it that.  I am not worried about this surgery and have been trying to keep my life positive and upbeat.  So far it seems to be working.  I set up on my phone two separate group messages so he can, during surgery and early recovery, keep everyone posted on what is happening in real time.  I also set up on my calendar several messages to be delivered to him during surgery to let him know how much I love him and to keep a positive thought.  Hopefully he knows how to open it to read it.

I am going to try and post a small message before I leave in the morning also but leaving around 4:30am, it might be hard to do.

Well if you do not want to see the before pictures then stop here and wait for the next post.  Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers as this journey begins.  

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For those who do not know what a DIEP Flap is, it is where they take the excess fat and skin from your belly, harvest a vein and an artery and connect that skin and fat tissue to the skin from my breast mastectomy, connecting the vein and artery to the ones in my breast area and create new breasts.  I have plenty of tissue to do this.  The after photos will show the large 17″ scar on my tummy from the procedure but my stomach will be flat.  A “Tummy tuck” basically.  The breasts will have either a Circle or Football shaped scar on them “the transplanted tissue”.

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right-side
Right Side

 

left-side
Left Side
bs-front
Front View

Oct. 21, 2016

Today I had my pre op admissions testing and filled out all of the paperwork.  I think this is the last step I have to do before surgery.  They gave me my special soap to use the night before and the morning of surgery.  It is getting here soon.

I did a lot of cooking today also.  I have been freezing meals for my husband and I since it will be easier for him to prepare lunches and dinners for 2 weeks.  He has been my rock through all of this and I do not think I could have made this decision without him.

Oct. 15, 2016 Getting ready for Surgery

Like I said before I have read so much on the internet and have tried to use the information I found in preparation for my surgery.  Several suggestions that seemed helpful were to turn the pockets of pants and robes to the outside to hold the drains.  Let me say something first.  I am not a paid person to say anything about the products that I am going to try and use.  The items that I am going to use have come from the stories that other people have told and from my own observations.

I found some shirts at Walmart that have an elastic neckline which I can step into and pull up without using much muscle at all.  I bought a larger size to help with the fit.  Since I am actually older the style does not look too bad on me.  I also found some scrubs with an elastic back and a drawstring on the front.  They will roll down easily to be under my healing scar and are loose fitting.  Since it will be getting colder soon I will need warmer clothes (pants), instead of shorts.

As for the drains I purchased some pouches that stick onto fabric so I put them on the inside front of the shirts to hold 4 drains.  Hopefully I will not have 4 or even none (big dream of mine).  I have a picture of the shirts and the drain pouches (Pink Pockets) with the shirt inside out to show the placement.

surgery-tops

After surgery I will post how well these items did.

I shopped for the stool softeners, Tylenol, and even bought prunes.  The thought of constipation is awful.  Hopefully I can keep it away or at least have it not be too bad.   Small travel case is packed and ready.

Oct. 15, 2016 Credits to other sites

I need to give a shout out to another site that has been wonderful in my research for this surgery.  It is an older blog but she really tells it like it is and I am modeling this blog after her openness to share her journey so others can see what it is like.  So a great thanks to “shutupaboutit.wordpress.com

Oct. 5, 2016 Pre surgery visit

Met with Dr Nabil Habash and everything is a go.  I have good perforators so that should be good.  He said my skin is very thin, due to my age so the possibility of having to use a larger flap than I would like to have is a strong possibility.   I was hoping for a small areola size flap but what ever works is fine with me.  I really feel that it will go good.  I usually heal pretty well.  I have to do what he says about the recovery.  I could really mess things up if I try to do too much too soon.   I think that is going to be the hardest thing for me.  I am not good at letting others take care of me and also not being able to do anything.  I need this surgery to turn out good so I will obey all of the rules.

I came with a long list of questions I had been keeping on my phone.  As I thought of something I put it in notes.  He answered them and did not seem to mind if they were kind of silly.  He made me feel completely at ease with my decision and I am  ready to do this surgery.